Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gettin' all serious and stuff....I'll try not to let it happen again...

For those of you who don't know me...a little history about myself....

I recently divorced in 2007 and have two girls ages 13 and 9. I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Baptist Church all of my life until I married 'D' at age 23. Then, D and I just got out of the habit of going to church. After I had our first daughter, we started attending church again of and on, we thought it was important that the girls knew God. We were not regular attenders, but we could say that we went to church. All of that changed though, when D's mother suffered an aneurysm in 1998 and we were told she would not live. At the time, D's mother was the MOST religious person I had ever met in my life. I had never known anyone who had read the bible from cover to cover three different times. She knew more about God...than God did! So, if anyone would survive from an aneurysm...it would be her. And, through the grace of God and the miracle of medicine...she lived and continues to thrive today. After her aneurysm, D and most of the family took her illness as a sign from God. A sign we all heard loud and clear, to get our lazy butts back in church on Sunday mornings and on an occasional Wednesday evening prayer service.

Now, eleven years later...this is my struggle.....

While I was going through my divorce I was introduced to a side of my religion that I had not seen before. A side that left a bitter taste in my mouth. I had been in an unhappy marriage for years, but to outsiders...people who DIDN'T EVEN KNOW ME, that did not matter. I was not to falter, I was to stand my ground on my commitment made to a man that I did not love anymore. I was a bad person for wanting to be happy. I was a bad mother for wanting to do what I believed was best for our children.

People 'fake' things everyday. How many times has someone asked, "How are you today?"... and you answered "Oh fine"..when you may have been having the WORST DAY EVER! It's just what we do to be polite. No one really wants to hear about the fight that you and your spouse had before work...do they??? Listen, everyone has their issues, no one is perfect. And, no one really knows what transpires in a marriage other than the two people who are intertwined in THAT marriage. Not your pastor. Not your friends. Not your parents. Especially not strangers.

My kids will ask me on occasion why I don't take them to church. And...I don't really have a good answer for them. I guess, I still have that bad taste in my mouth. They are still active in church, they still go with their dad and grandparents when he has them on his weekends. And our nine year old went in front of the church this past Sunday to proclaim her faith in Christ and will be baptized soon. I am a little sad that I missed this special occasion in her life. But, part of me just wants to kick myself in the ass and say "umm... hello? dumbass what did you expect, you weren't taking her?"

Do I sill believe in God? Yes. Do I still pray? Yes. I think in everyone's heart we all know the difference between right and wrong. And in my heart I feel you can believe in God without physically sitting in a pew 52 times a year. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope I'm not, but if I am I guess I'll find out when it's a little too late.

I will end this post with one of my favorite songs that just seems appropriate.

Take You Back

The reason why I stand
The answer lies in you
You hung to make me strong
Though my praise was few
When I fall I bring your name down
But I have found in you
A heart that bleeds forgiveness
replacing all these thoughts of painful memories
But I know that your response will always be

I'll take you back always
Even when your fight is over now
I'll take you back always
Even when the pain is coming through
I'll take you back

You satisfy this cry
Of what I'm looking for
And I'll take all I can
And lay it down before
The throne of endless grace now that radiates what's true
I'm in the only place that
erases all these faults
That have overtaken me
But I know that your response will always be

I'll take you back always
Even when your fight is over now
I'll take you back always
Even when the pain is coming through
I'll take you back

I can only speak with a grateful heart
As I'm pierced by this gift of your love
I will always bring an offering
I can never thank you enough

You take me back always
Even when my fight is over now
You take me back always
Even when my pain is coming through
You take me back


Matthew Barron said...

Yes, that sounds like one of the fallacies people have fallen into for the last two-thousand plus years. “Religion saves!” Yeah, that’s a joke. My question is this. If God didn’t heal your ex-mother-in-law, would God still be just and fair if he just let her die, despite all of her knowledge and religious practice?

Now, as a follower of Christ, I’ve got to deal with a lot of judgmental brothers and sisters. They’re just the unpleasant members of the family. I’m familiar with the ostracization that comes with uncomfortable situations. People think that they have to vocally defend their personal values from those who break their values.

It’s nice to note that God forgives what society doesn’t. In fact, he has more patience than we tend to have for ourselves. He also has patience for those who don’t think they need it. (Which should remind us to endure those who set themselves as judge.)

I think you’re right when God sees the heart. No one is made right in God’s eyes by doing things that satisfy the majority. God is only satisfied with those who place their trust, their dependence, their reliance, and their confidence on Him and His promises (Romans 4 & 5). That’s the nature of faith.

(Now I'm preaching to the choir.)

On the same token, church attendance is beneficial, even when painful. It is intended to help us grow. Maybe growth can take place not merely through the words spoken from a pulpit but in the least anticipated areas by the least likely of means? Maybe God can make you a minister of His grace, which is a message every church-goer, humble or proud, needs to hear and constantly remember.

As much as my opinion matters among so many on the 'net, cry your tears [as if you hadn’t already] and rest in God’s promises. I said, “REST!” That means you strive to do only one thing: To stop striving! Trust is more than clinging to the fundamentals of faith. It’s an implicit dependence upon the One who gives the promises.

You're not made good by what you do. You're made good by Whom you believe. Therefore no one has a right to judge you except God. And He made His judgment through His Son. (This by the way gives Christians lots of freedoms. And I mean lots!)

The next thing is to learn what to do with these freedoms. (Just read Galatians and figure it out yourself if you have the interest, though I'll bet you probably already know.)

BTW, nice song. Very comforting.

Matthew Barron said...

There I go again. The typical guy always trying to fix things. Thanks for letting this blogless blogger use yours as a sounding board.

Sally-Sal said...

Chances are, if you were unhappy, then your kids knew.
By making yourself happy, you make them happy.

It's been awhile since I've gone to church, but this is something that most churches need to learn "hate the sin, love the sinner" --Gandhi

bonsairick said...

"And in my heart I feel you can believe in God without physically sitting in a pew 52 times a year."

I agree completely - He's with me anywhere I am, even when I'm being a jerk - He's there, patiently giving me the Divine TISK, TISK, TISK. And I've finally learned that I don't care what anyone says, feels or thinks about that - it is MY belief. Nor do I try to impose MY belief on anyone else for the same reason.

And thanks for being gutsy enough to be serious for a moment.

Fiona said...

I'm not a believer in big g god but I totally agree about sitting on a pew 52 times a year. What counts is how you live your life every moment you're not sitting on that pew.

Everyone was astounded when my husband left his ex-wife. But you have such a perfect marriage they said. Nope, that they didn't, but people believe what they want to believe from what they see. Noone but the two people involved (and perhaps the children) know what's really going on.

If it is a good faith, your being in church or not shouldn't matter.

Midwest Mommy said...

I have faith, I believe in God and I pray that said I do have to say I no longer really believe in "churches." I don't believe that I need to confess my sins to a priest that may or may not have committed a horrible sin himself. So I understand where you are coming from. It's a struggle with people who don't agree.